Community Editorial: What Happened To The LAN Parties?

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With rAge 2010 done and dusted and 2080 pc gamers getting there for their 3 day non-stop gaming fix for the next year I wondered to myself about the days I used to LAN.

I walked through the LAN area while it was being set up and a strong sense of nostalgia rose up and reminded me of the “good ‘ol days” of gamers, pwnage, pizza and coke. For me times have changed and I no longer have the l33t PC I once had, now I just settle with an upgrade every 2 years and spend most of my time gaming on consoles, especially on Xbox Live. However, before the XBOX 360 arrived I used to LAN with a small group of friends on the original XBOX playing Halo 2.

At that time we didn’t have LCD Screens so I lugged my 72cm TV through to a mates house, cleared out his living room and 12 of us would play Halo 2 in its diverse universe of multiplayer game modes.

However since the introduction of the PS3 and the XBOX 360 and with Telkom introducing low-level broadband, gamers no longer want to leave their couches and instead opt to stay at home and play online in the evenings.

Social activities take place online, friends are made through gamertags and PSN ID’s. I’m by no means saying that this isn’t an acceptable means of gaming, I’m just saying it’s stolen a valuable part of gaming history, part of the gamers heritage. Fortunately the PC community is still strong and the attendance at LANS such as Mayhem (www.mayhem.co.za) are still very strong.

My complaint is on the console gamer and their weak excuses as to why they don’t want to go out to a mate’s house for a LAN. I don’t know maybe it’s just me, but what I love the most is the post-game commentary where we talk about what someone did in a game and you can laugh, taunt and joke in their faces and see their expressions, all over a nice cold beverage and braai. Even more enjoyable is hearing a friend squeal and jump around as you knife them around a corner *evil grin*.

I’ve been to a couple of LANS and they’ve all been fun, a nice break from the day to day tasks of work and living up to social norms that society has dictated we live under. We’re all geeks, nerds, and fanboys and LAN time is my time. I’ve met so many people in “real life” (editor comment: What is this RL you speak of?) and have formed great relationships with most of them and we play regularly together online and offline.

I used to really push for LAN gaming and these are some of the excuses/questions I was given.

  1. You can LAN your XBOX/PS3? Interestingly there were a lot of gamers out there who didn’t know that you could LAN your Xbox without needing Xbox live subscription. It’s true there are a lot of games out there especially XBOX titles including: Call of Duty, Gears of War etc. that can connect to a hub and play local games, it’s called “system link”. All you need to do is check on the back of your game box and you’ll see the system link icon in green (meaning: Live or PSN is not required)
  2. How do you make the consoles talk to each other? The XBOX 360 and PS3 work exactly the same as a PC in terms of networking and it doesn’t have to be complicated most hubs or routers these days will configure all your settings for you just plug and play, but if you’re still having issues the internet has a plethora of articles to help you get setup in no time.
  3. I don’t want to lug my LCD 32” Screen to a LAN! The great thing about tech is that it’s slowly being simplified into single cable solutions, and it’s being seen in PC monitors as well. You can get a couple of different cables that will fit into your PC’s 19”/23” monitor including: HDMI, VGA, or DVI-D go to any BT Games, AWX, or ZAPS store to find out exactly what solution is going to work for you.
  4. So much stuff to take with. Really? Get a bag! I carry all my gear in 2 hands, most of the stuff you need with you comes with your console already:
    • a. An Xbox 360/PS3 console
    • b. Controller (or 2) + batteries and cable
    • c. Power Brick + Power cable (or just the cable for the PS3)
    • d. Network Cable (provided with Xbox consoles)
    • e. Monitor + cable
    • f. Someone just needs to provide a hub for however many guys are coming around.

To end off I just want to say that gaming all in all is fun for everyone be it online/offline, Just saying don’t get stuck into one pattern, get out there and make a day of it. Bring your games, console and a smile and I have no doubt that you’ll have a great time!

Last Updated: October 8, 2010

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